2012 the year of productivity

I’m still trying to think of some goals for the new year. Of course I want to be better at budgeting, get stronger, run faster, update my blog more frequently, unsubscribe to all the emails that I never read and live a healthy lifestyle, but those things aren’t really new. My main plans for 2012 include turning 30, going on a road trip and running the New York Marathon. But one thing that I do want to change is making better use of my time. I want to do more and I want to do less. By that I mean using the resources I have to become productive. Although productivity (great explanation in this link) is a bit of a vague word that implies creating physical products or content, in my mind, learning and having fun are also important.

So here’s a few of my favorite apps and productivity tips that I want to incorporate in 2012.

  • Email – I love getting personal emails but I hate it when my inbox is full of marketing or daily feeds that I don’t have time to read. I plan to send regular emails to friends that I don’t see often enough. One of the great things about having a smartphone is that I can write emails while I’m getting a pedicure or when I’m on the subway and I don’t do this nearly enough. Unsubscribing to marketing emails is a time consuming but worthy task and I also plan to put interesting newsletters straight into folders so they don’t block my inbox. Here’s some additional email management tips: 10 quick tips to wrangle your email effectively
  • News – Gone are the days of reading a black and white newspaper or watching the news on TV. My favorite way to get the news is via the BBC News app. I listen to the radio while I’m getting ready for work in the morning and update articles to read offline when I’m on my way to work. I only wish the app had a bookmark or read later feature – BBC are you listening?
  • Music – There’s something exciting about discovering new music. NPRMusic allows you to listen to new albums before they’re released and I often end up listening to and liking something I haven’t heard about before. The iPhone app is also one of my top recommendations since you can add music to a playlist and listen to all the NPR radio stations.
  • Food – I enjoy searching the web for a new recipe based on ingredients I have left in the fridge so that nothing goes to waste. Try searching epicurious and reading the comments to decide what to make and how to alter the recipe. The smartphone app lets you add ingredients to a shopping list to take to the supermarket.
  • RSS – Instead of filling up your inbox, subscribe to all your favorite websites and newsletters via an RSS reader. I usually like free apps but I just downloaded Reeder since my previous app stopped working. I definitely need to go through my subscriptions to organize them and delete those I don’t read.
  • Life inspiration – I’m addicted to Podcasts, Talks and Infographics. A picture says more that a thousand words and everyone should add Information is Beautiful to their bookmarks. My recommended educational podcasts are: The Bowery Boys, Boing Boing Gweek, Fresh Air, Outlook, and Radiolab. I love listening to these or TED talks when I’m cooking or eating dinner. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to go to the TED conference in person. Fun, technology, food and saving the world sums up why.

  • Anymore for anymore – Other top free, essential apps and websites: Adobe Reader, Evernote, Kindle, Flipboard, CheckPlease and Mint.com.

What are your top productivity tips and apps? Please send them my way.

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